The month of November and December saw our Executive Coordinator Simbarashe visit the United States and Canada.
Simbarashe arrived on the 12th of November in New York and had the opportunity to meet Karen one of Tariro’s international board members. The two shared notes on how Tariro can be taken to a another level –key being the need to source funds from corporate institutions in Zimbabwe , the need for strategic partnerships with other like-minded organizations in and outside Zimbabwe and last but not least the need to strengthen our current relationships . Simbarashe then flew to Kentucky to be with his wife who had just been blessed with a baby boy, Anashe. Simbarashe spent some time with his family before embarking on a journey that took him to Oregon and British Columbia.
His next port of call was Eugene, Oregon on the 30th of November 2016. It was a wonderful experience for Simba to meet the Oregon community, especially meeting the people who have supported and steered Tariro over the years. Simba was hosted by Marilyn and her husband Hans and he is very grateful to them for their extraordinary hospitality. They made his stay very comfortable and he really felt at home. He had the privilege, courtesy of Marilyn and Hans to visit the Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Centre on two consecutive evenings, where he saw various marimba groups rehearse. He had the opportunity to thank them for the support they have given and continue giving Tariro. He also had the chance to share with them Tariro’s achievements, challenges and plans for the future. Simba was really impressed by their commitment in supporting Tariro, their marimba playing skills and the quality of their marimba sets. He wishes we could have such quality marimba sets in Zimbabwe.
On the 1st of December, late afternoon Simba had the privilege of meeting Cai Emmons of the Emmons Bradlee Family Foundation over a cup of coffee. The Foundation has been supporting Tariro over the years. Simba shared with her Tariro’s 2016 achievements, the challenges Tariro is facing and the challenges Zimbabwe is facing as a country. Simba also shared with her Tariro’s plans to engage a social work intern , embark on an income generating project (if we get funding from US Embassy ) and the need to reach out to more girls in need. Cai assured Simba of her family foundation will continuing supporting Tariro.
Later that evening Simba graced a fundraising dinner hosted for him by the Eugene community at Jeff and Gerianne’s place. He had the opportunity to share with those present his vision for Tariro, what Tariro has achieved in 2016 and why it is important to send the girl child to school in developing countries like Zimbabwe. It was really great for Simba to meet people who saw the birth of Tariro such as Jeff.
Simba then travelled to Portland on the 2nd of December to attend two functions which were being held to raise funds for Tariro. The first function was at the Ford Food and Drink restaurant where Njuzu Mbira were playing .Peter and Paul Hayes were also in attendance selling raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt Attendance was however, low. Simba had the opportunity to talk about Tariro to the few people in attendance. Despite the low turnout Njuzu Mbira gave it their best.
The following day Simba spent the day at Cedarwood Waldorf School Winterfaire with Paul and Peter. They had the opportunity to distribute Tariro brochures, sell raffle tickets and talk to people about Tariro. Almost everyone who visited our stall praised Tariro for the good work they are doing. The raffle quilt was beautifully displayed and we also had information on Tariro displayed. It really was a day well spent. Former pupils taught by Peter volunteered to assist the fundraising initiative by selling raffle tickets in the near future.
Simba then travelled to Victoria, Canada on the 4th of December where he attended the Bopoma Marimba Winter event at Oakland Community Centre. It was a well organised event and kudos to Barb and Ted. He was treated to some great mbira music from the Bopoma groups. The performances were really captivating. Simba had the opportunity to thank the Victoria community for supporting the cause of the girl child in Zimbabwe. He shared with them Tariro’s achievements to date and its vision for 2017.
Last but not least, Simba accompanied by Barb visited two high schools in Victoria. His first visit was at Parklands High School where he addressed a social studies class. He shared with them a bit about himself, a bit about Zimbabwe before talking about the plight of the girl child in Zimbabwe. He shared with the class about Tariro – its mission, achievements, challenges and vision for 2017. The students are willing to assist in one way or the other. Simba then travelled to Reynolds High School where he led two focus group discussions of forty five minutes each. He shared with the students’ the history about the colonization of Zimbabwe, the land reform, the economic challenges Zimbabwe is facing, the challenges the girl child faces and the role Tariro is playing to mitigate the challenges girls are facing in the high density suburbs of Harare . The students saw the need to support Tariro and they came up with a number of fundraising initiatives they could undertake at their school. Some of the ideas are as follows:
– Selling cookies at lunch time / bake sales / Lottery/raffles/50-50 draws
– Holding a one day fundraiser –music, sport, dance etc.
– Lobbying shops such as Tim Hortons which is frequented by students at Reynolds High School to donate 25cents to Tariro for each coffee cup bought by a Reynolds student.
– Use of Go Fundme
– Hosting a marimba festival at the school.
– Loonies day
– Reynolds students will take up an ambassadorial role for Tariro, fundraising and engaging other students at other schools and also engaging local businesses.
– Profiling of girls in Zimbabwe and sharing with the Reynolds School community and have people donate towards a girl of their choice.
– Bottle drive money to Tariro.
It was great to get such ideas from the students.
The visit was really an eye-opener for Simba. It was really humbling to see how committed the community in USA and Canada is, in helping the cause of the girls we support in Zimbabwe. The level of commitment is unmatched and it is Simba’s wish that back home, communities can also have that level of commitment in helping the girl child. Simba is really grateful to everyone who made his stay very comfortable and he emphasizes that he did meet wonderful people in the United States and Canada.